Dr. Sara Joy David

A view of the Vancouver Marina where Sara David Joy is a psychologist.

Coal Harbour Downtown Psychologist

It is exciting and challenging to be writing to assist those of you who seek my services to help in your journey to self-knowledge, healing and empowerment. It has been a gift and privilege to be trusted by you and witness your journey. I take very seriously the responsibility to assure my own continued growth and ongoing study of state of the art research on brain science, trauma recovery, couples therapy, and other topics of interest so that the services offered to you are leading edge.

It is a sad moment in mental health history that there is so much reliance on prescription medications, which are band-aid treatments for emotional turmoil and stress that challenge a large portion of the population. These medications are toxic, addictive, and sometimes lethal, much as mood-altering substances that are not socially sanctioned ( ecstasy, cocaine and other street drugs). It is for this reason that I want to acknowledge each of you who is open to combining the best in insight-oriented therapy, emotional release and expression, positive thinking and rewiring the brain through brain gym and other discoveries by neuroscientists, as well as spiritual practices, all better ways to get lasting relief from anxiety, depression, self-doubt, relationship conflict and work stress. My intention in the upcoming series of blogs is to supplement your reading of articles on my website and the work you do during in-person consultations with additional readings and tools that anchor the gains you make.

Close up of an iris.

Here is an affirmation for the coming week. Remember to use it in the first, second and third person.

I release all resistance to healing and empowering and welcome joy, serenity, and security.

You release all resistance to healing and growth and welcome joy, serenity, and creativity.

(Your name) releases all resistance to growth and welcomes joy, serenity, and freedom.
The slight variations in wording are used to encourage you to phrase this concept in your own words. language. Let me remind you that brain gym with the 6 images and words on the homepage of my website will anchor them. Do five minutes daily of on-the-spot jogging or snapping your fingers at each ear (to switch on both hemispheres) for 1 month while looking at the words and images, and listening to background music.

A woman relishes in the freedom that comes from visiting a psychologist.

The recommended song for this month is by Helen Reddy. While the song was written to and for women originally, make the words your focus since they apply to both men and women serious about growth and setting themselves free. Many boys and men report finding the words inspiring. Girls and women certainly find it heartening and many have made it their theme song. I suggest that the men reading this blog insert their/your own name where the word “woman” appears.

I am(woman), hear me roar/ In numbers too big to ignore/ and I know too much to go back and pretend/ ‘Cause I’ve heard it all before/ And I’ve been down there on the floor/ No one’s ever going to keep me down again

Oh yes, I am wise/ But it’s wisdom born of pain/ Yes I’ve paid the price/ But look how much I’ve gained/ if I have to/ I can do anything/ I am strong (strong)/ I am invincible (invincible)/ I am…………..

You can bend but never break me/ “Cause it only serves to make me/ More determined to reach my final goal/ And I come back even stronger/ Not a novice any longer/ ‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

Oh yes, I am wise/ But it’s wisdom born of pain/Yes I’ve paid the price/ But look how much I’ve gained/ if I have to I can do anything/ I am strong (strong)/ I am invincible (invincible)/ I am ………..
I am ……. watch me grow/ See me standing toe to toe/ As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land/ But I’m still an embryo/ With a long, long way to go/ Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes, I am wise/ But it’s wisdom born of pain…………………………………………………………………………… I am strong (strong)/ I am invincible (invincible)/ I am (woman) …………………

Everybody knows how to love, but only a few people know how to stay in love with one person for a very long period of time.

Relationship Enhancement: In my experience, gender conditioning and family of origin dynamics play a pivotal role in how spouses/partners relate to one another. This applies to both heterosexual and same sex relationships. There are slightly different challenges that arise in each of the following 3 relationship combinations, male/female, male/male and female/female. (There are, of course, commonalities as well as differences in all 3 types of partnering but that is a topic for another day). Gender conditioning leads some men not to allow their spouses/partners to influence them and this is one of the key factors that leads to eventual frustration and conflict. Gender conditioning also results in women sometimes being more emotionally expressive than men and men being more cut off from feelings and ruled by thought. Until gender conditioning is overcome, it helps to do one’s best to compensate for the rifts created by such differences. These differences are not innate. They are learned and can be unlearned. Until we develop new, more harmonious ways of communicating, resolving conflict and staying anchored in mutual love and respect, we accumulate hurt and anger that can be challenging to defuse. While it is challenging to resolve all this, it is well worth the effort. We all need to learn what may be missing. We can then be allies and teachers to one another assisting each other to apply newly added skills as needed. Love definitely brings to the surface, everything unlike itself so that healing and re-scripting can occur. The danger is that if we do what we have always done, we will get what we have already had that does not work. We do need to find new steps to a different dance. The metaphors used by Harriet Lerner are far reaching. The Dance of Anger and The Dance of Intimacy, two of her best known books, describe the dynamics well and you may wish to read one or both of these books.

Here are some tips to help you soften your heart and return to equilibrium when conflict leads to temporary alienation or disconnection from your spouse, partner, or loved friend. We each have our own styles of communicating but we are more similar than we are different. The following self talk may assist to remind you each of basic commonalities.

  1. Both of us want to feel safe, loved, heard, understood, accepted, and appreciated.
  2. Both of us have fears of being taken for granted, abandoned, disappointed, let down or even betrayed.
  3. Both of us sometimes allow a current disagreement to trigger memories of past grievances.
  4. We have made it through past conflict and this, too, shall pass.
  5. When stressed it is difficult to focus on solutions.
  6. Our first task is to assist each other to regain equilibrium together or separately.
  7. It is only after we have succeeded in calming ourselves that we can resolve the conflict.

Love is stronger than hurt, anger, fear, shame, and guilt. Since energy flows where the attention goes, focus on what led you to choose one another, upon memories of shared affection, moments when you felt peaceful, safe and serene together, moments when you felt proud to be a couple or friends. By evoking the feelings you had at a time when you were feeling good about yourself and one another, you will succeed in shifting your focus from failure to success, from powerlessness to competence, and from despair to optimism. Your confidence in yourself and trust in each other will be restored and even strengthened. Then you will find it much easier to brainstorm solutions to the problems you face.

Remember that change occurs through repetition and practice. Your willingness to be accountable, together with your acceptance of yourself and your loved one, gets the neurons firing in the brain that are associated with well-being, activates new more productive neural pathways and replaces circuits in the brain that once undermined communication with circuits which are better able to produce win-win outcomes. The more sincere, enthusiastic, and energetic you are when putting your attention on what bonds the two of you, the more quickly new neural pathways will be established in the brain. Be determined. Be persistent. It will pay off.